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J. Michele Edwards

(Kimura)

(b Tokyo, April 18, 1937). Japanese marimba player and composer. After xylophone study with Eiichi Asabuki (1950–59), she earned two degrees from Tokyo Gakugei University, studying composition with Shosuke Ariga and Toshio Kashiwagi as well as percussion with Masao Imamura and Yusuke Oyake. An active professional performer since 1960, she has toured extensively in Europe, North America and Asia with annual recital tours since 1981. Through development of new technical skills and by expanding the repertory with over 70 commissions, she has contributed significantly to the status of marimba music, for which she was honoured by induction into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1993. After a decade of studio work and orchestral playing, she studied the performances of jazz artists such as Milt Jackson and Lionel Hampton in order to develop her own personal style of improvisation as a creative source for composition. Technically challenging yet idiomatic for the marimba, her works generally begin with improvisation and are later notated. Her compositions include wide dynamic ranges, techniques borrowed from folk music traditions and careful voicing of chords. Using four- and sometimes six-mallet technique, she often combines a melodic line with an impressionistic background of rhythmic patterns. Her performances of her compositions and those of other Japanese composers have been very influential on developments in the USA, especially since ...

Article

Barry Long

(b Port Chester, NY, Dec 16, 1944). American jazz guitarist, composer, and bandleader. He grew up in Greenwich, CT, and began playing guitar at the age of 14. He was primarily self taught until he studied at the Berklee College of Music (1962–6) and with Jack Petersen. Abercrombie joined Johnny Hammond’s touring band after the blues organist had spotted him performing with other Berklee students at Paul’s Mall in Boston. After studying briefly at the University of North Texas, in 1969 he moved to New York where he performed and recorded in Billy Cobham’s jazz-rock band Dreams (1970), joined Chico Hamilton’s group, and recorded with Gato Barbieri (1971), Barry Miles (1972), and Gil Evans (1974). Abercrombie attracted wider attention performing with Cobham’s fusion band Spectrum from 1974. He also toured with Jack DeJohnette and recorded his debut album, ...

Article

Svetlana Sarkisyan

(b Yerevan, March 8, 1932). Armenian cellist and teacher. She studied first at the Yerevan Central Music School (where her teachers were K. Khizanov and L. Grigoryan) and then with Grigoryan at the Komitas Conservatory in Yerevan (1950–53). She continued her studies with Rostropovich at the Moscow Conservatory (1953–6) and became a laureate of the H. Wihan International Cello Competition (1955). In 1956 she made her début as a soloist with the Armenian PO, and has performed regularly with the orchestra since then. In 1960 she became professor of cello at the Yerevan Conservatory. She has performed widely in Russia, the USA, Canada and Western Europe, as a soloist and during numerous festivals, specializing in 20th-century works, notably those by Armenian composers. She has given premières of some 100 works, a number of which are dedicated to her. Her playing is distinguished by refinement of intonation, a broad range of colour and a strong dramatic impetus....

Article

[Abrams, Richard Louis ]

(b Chicago, IL, Sept 19, 1930). American pianist, composer, and administrator. After receiving private piano lessons, he studied at the Chicago Musical College and taught himself the system of composition devised by Joseph Schillinger. He began to work professionally in 1948 and performed regularly at the Cotton Club in Chicago during the 1950s, accompanying visiting musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, and Max Roach. After composing and arranging for the Walter “King” Fleming band in the mid-1950s, Abrams joined the hard bop ensemble MJT+3 and made his recording debut on the group’s album DADDY-O PRESENTS MJT+3 (1957, VJ 1013). Beginning in 1961 Abrams led the Experimental Band, a composer-centered rehearsal ensemble whose members included the double bass player Donald Rafael Garrett, Jack DeJohnette, Roscoe Mitchell, and the reed player Joseph Jarman. He subsequently co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in 1965...

Article

Mario Rey

(b Havana, Cuba, Feb 26, 1942). Cuban-American guitarist, composer, arranger, and educator; immigrated to the United States and naturalized in 1975. He studied piano and composition at the Conservatorio Orbón in Havana, and guitar under Héctor García and Julian Bream. Abril participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion (1961) and was consequently incarcerated for twenty-two months in Cuba. Returning to the United States, he established a performing and recording career as a classical guitarist, whose arrangements for the instrument have been published worldwide. He holds the PhD degree in music theory from Florida State University.

A series of medical issues with his hands during the 1980s subsequently redirected his focus to composition. Rejecting atonality and traditional developmental procedures in his early works, Abril cultivated a compositional style characterized by tonal and often polytonal harmony and linear writing. Although not a folklorist, he shows an affinity for Cuban musical culture, particularly in the rhythmic component. His compositions include ...

Article

Piero Rattalino

(b Turin, Sept 26, 1941). Italian violinist and conductor. He studied the violin with Luigi d’Ambrosio at the Naples Conservatory, took the diploma in 1956 and a postgraduate course with Yvonne Astruc at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena. He won the international competitions at Vercelli (1955) and Geneva (1956), and in 1958 both the RAI Spring Trophy and the Premio Paganini international violin competition at Genoa. He toured throughout Europe and North and South America and soon became one of the best-known and most admired Italian violinists of his generation. An instinctive player with an easy, agile and brilliant technique, he is an all-round musician with a repertory ranging from Vivaldi and Bach to contemporary composers, many of whom have written works for him, including Franco Donatoni (Argot for solo violin, 1979) and Xenakis (Dikhtas, 1980). He is considered a fine interpreter of Paganini (whose 24 capriccios and six concertos he has recorded). Accardo has developed an interest in chamber music and is one of the organizers of the ensemble music week held at Naples each year; in ...

Article

Laura Pita

(b Bilbao, Spain, Nov 1, 1932). Spanish pianist, active in the United States. He began music studies at an early age at the Bilbao Conservatory and later studied with Nikita Magaloff, Walter Gieseking and Bruno Seidlhofer. After winning awards and international competitions in France, Italy, and Switzerland during his years as a student, Achucarro scored a triumph at the 1959 Liverpool International Piano Concerto Competition. This led to his debut with the London SO, marking the beginning of an extensive career as concert performer that has taken him to over sixty countries where he has performed with over two hundred orchestras, including the Berlin PO, London PO, Tokyo PO, Sydney SO, and La Scala PO. Achucarro made his US debut in 1968 with the Chicago SO under Seiji Ozawa. Since then, Achucarro has performed frequently in recitals and concerts with the premiere American orchestras. Since 1989, Achucarro has held the Joel Estes Chair at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He also teaches master classes at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana of Siena while continuing to maintain a full touring schedule....

Article

Stefan Fricke

(b Sibiu, Nov 3, 1940; d Munich, May 27, 2006). German composer of Romanian birth. He studied the piano, the organ and theory privately with Franz Xaver Dressler in Sibiu (1950–58). From 1959 to 1964 he studied composition with Toduta at the Cluj Academy of Music where, after receiving his diploma, he remained to teach composition and music theory. In 1969 he moved to the Federal Republic of Germany to teach at the Robert Schumann Conservatory, Düsseldorf (1969–72) and attend the Darmstadt summer course (1969). He was appointed to teach theory and composition at the Munich Musikhochschule in 1972, becoming professor of composition there in 1976. His awards included the composition prize of the Prague Spring Festival (1966), the Stuttgart Stamitz prize (1970), the city of Stuttgart composition prize (1971), the Stroud Festival composition prize, the Hitzacker prize (...

Article

Michael Ethen

(Guy)

(b Kingston, ON, Nov 5, 1959). Canadian rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and photographer. The son of a diplomat, he spent his youth in England, Israel, Portugal, and Austria. After returning with his family to North America, he began performing and recording at the age of 15 with rock bands in British Columbia and Ontario. In 1978 he began what became a long and successful songwriting partnership with Jim Vallance, with whom he created most songs recorded under his name up to 1987, as well as songs recorded by Rod Stewart, Kiss, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Diamond, and the Canadian groups Prism, BTO, and Loverboy.

Adams’ albums characteristically alternate between down-tempo piano ballads and straight-ahead rock numbers. His third solo album, Cuts like a Knife (1983) launched him to the status of an international celebrity; its singles included the ballad “Straight from the Heart” and the anthem “Cuts like a Knife,” which both featured for weeks on magazine charts and music television. The next album, ...

Article

Ateş Orga

(b Moscow, Sept 8, 1947). Russian pianist, conductor, writer and poet. A student of Yakov Zak and Emil Gilels at the Moscow Conservatory (1965–73), he won the 1968 Leipzig Bach Competition, four years later taking the gold medal at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. After seeking political asylum in Belgium in 1974, he settled in France in 1980, but since 1989 he has returned regularly to his native country for concerts and recordings. Intent on philosophical truths more than absolutes of pianistic finish, placing emotions of the mind and spirit above ‘outward prettiness’, Afanassiev is a provocatively inspirational artist, indebted on his own admission to many of the great individualists of the past: Gilels, Gould, Horowitz, Michelangeli, Rachmaninoff and Sofronitsky all receive tribute in his ‘Homages & Ecstasies’ album (1996). Partial to mono/duographic programming, with a repertory extending from Froberger to Crumb, his extensive discography includes Bach (Book 1 of ...

Article

M. Rusty Jones

(b Tehran, Iran, March 9, 1960). American guitarist and educator of Iranian birth. She took up the guitar at the age of ten, later moving to the United States. She received BM and MM degrees in guitar from the Boston Conservatory and the New England Conservatory of Music. In 1986, she was among 12 guitarists selected by Andrés Segovia to perform in his masterclasses held at the University of Southern California. In 1989, she earned a Doctorate of Music degree in guitar performance from Florida State University, under the direction of Bruce Holzman. She was the first woman worldwide to receive this degree. She studied with Oscar Ghiglia at the Banff School of Fine Arts, Aspen Music Festival, and Siena (Accademia Musicale Chigiana). Among her awards are a Grand Prize in the 1986 Aspen Music Festival Guitar Competition, Top Prize in the 1988 Guitar Foundation of America Competition, a NEA recording award, and selection by the United States Information Agency to Africa as an Artistic Ambassador in ...

Article

Katherine Hagedorn

(b Simpson, Matanzas, Cuba, Oct 10, 1925; d Los Angeles, CA, May 7, 2010). Cuban drummer. A master drummer, Francisco Aguabella’s expertise in Afro-Cuban sacred drumming traditions included Lucumí batá, Iyesá, Arará, and Abakwá, as well as the popular genres of rumba, comparsa, salsa, rock, and Latin jazz. At age 12, Aguabella began playing Lucumí batá drums with friend and mentor Esteban “Chacha” Vega. At 18, he joined the local Abakwá society Efi Yumane, befriending fellow drummer Julito Collazo. In 1947 Aguabella moved to Havana to work as a longshoreman and musician. He played sacred batá drums for Lucumí ceremonies and performed in the popular “Sun Sun Babae” show at the Sans Souci Club with Trinidad Torregrosa, Raul Díaz, and Merceditas Valdés until the early 1950s. He also played lead quinto for the comparsa band “Los Dandys de Belen.” In 1953 choreographer Katherine Dunham invited Aguabella to join her dance company, with whom he toured Europe, South America, the United States, and Australia for the next four years. In ...

Article

(b Mexico City, Dec 7, 1945). Mexican pianist and composer. She studied the piano at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and composition in the workshop of the Conservatorio Nacional de Música under Héctor Quintanar and Mario Lavista. Her extensive output reveals a diversity of techniques and styles without formal adherence to compositional schools or avant-garde trends, but with an emphasis on the search for expressive freedom. Avant-garde techniques, however, are sometimes used to enhance the colour and integrity of her music, as in Navegantes del crepúsculo (‘Voyagers of the Twilight’, 1993), a trio in four movements for clarinet, bassoon and piano, which she describes as ‘a fantasy of abstract lyricism’. In Arabesco for solo recorder, the music explores the technical potential of the instrument and the performer, including the simultaneous use of two recorders, the contrapuntal exposition of the theme through multiphonics and nimble alternation between voice and instrument....

Article

Eldonna L. May

(b Brownsville, TX, Nov 2, 1962). American percussionist, improviser, and composer. He received his bachelor’s degree from Corpus Christi State University; his master’s degrees in percussion performance from the California Institute of the Arts, where he studied with John Bergamo; and a DMA in contemporary music performance from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied with Steven Schick and Anthony Davis. An experimental performer and composer, he also studied with AACM member Wadada Leo Smith, who shaped his interest in the improvisatory and free jazz elements of Chicago’s creative music scene. Aguilar’s interdisciplinary approach to composition combines improvised and fully notated musical elements with the use of new technologies and informed by an interest in cultural and critical studies. His compositions, such as Different Paths, Same Destination (2003), incorporate elements of free jazz, structured improvisation, industrial sound, white noise, guitar as a hand-percussion instrument, and spatial sound relationships—while using instrumentation that relies primarily on various percussion instruments. Aguilar’s compositional processes include what he calls “imaginative reaction compositions” whereby he shares with musicians a number of elements—such as poetry, a variety of musical excerpts, and random thoughts and ideas—prior to recording their collective improvisation. The musicians listen to pre-recorded melodic and rhythmic structures Aguilar has composed and create collective, free improvisations, incorporating their interpretation of the shared elements. Dedicated to Julio Estrada, Aguilar’s ...

Article

Svetlana Sarkisyan

(b Riga, May 24, 1947). Armenian violinist and conductor. He began to study the violin in Riga and continued his studies at the Central Music School in Yerevan (1963–6), the Yerevan Conservatory (1966–8) and the Moscow Conservatory (1968–74), where his teachers were Y.I. Yankelevich and Leonid Kogan. From ...

Article

Richard Wigmore

( b Lyon, Sept 9, 1957). French pianist . He studied at the Paris Conservatoire, where he won four premiers prix, and continued his studies with Yvonne Loriod and Maria Curcio. Since winning first prize in the 1973 Messiaen Competition he has been closely asssociated with Messiaen's music, performing all of the composer's works for piano and making a widely praised recording of the Vingt regards sur l'Enfant Jésus. At the age of 19 Aimard was invited by Boulez to become solo pianist with the Ensemble InterContemporain. He has performed and recorded many of Boulez's works, and in the mid-1980s began to collaborate regularly with Ligeti, who chose Aimard to record his complete piano works for Sony and dedicated several of his Etudes to him. Aimard's repertory also includes works by Ives (whose Quarter-Tone Pieces he has recorded), Webern and Berio, in addition to Classical and Romantic works. During the ...

Article

Bruce Mather

(Morris)

(b Kentville, NS, Aug 28, 1939). Canadian flautist, conductor and composer. He studied with Nicholas Fiore (in Toronto) and Marcel Moyse; later with Rampal and Gazzelloni. He was principal flautist of the Vancouver SO (1958–9) and of the Toronto SO (1965–70). In 1971 he was a prizewinner of the Concours International de Flûte de Paris. In 1964 he formed the Lyric Arts Trio with his wife, the pianist Marion Ross, and the soprano Mary Morrison. He is musical director of New Music Concerts (Toronto) and Music Today (Shaw Festival, Ontario), as well as a soloist whose engagements take him to Europe, North America, Japan and Iceland. In 1977 he was one of 12 instrumentalists invited by Boulez to give a solo recital at IRCAM in Paris. Some 50 works have been wrtten for him by composers including Carter, Crumb, R. Murray Schafer and Takemitsu. Technically adept, he has a pure, intense tone and a finished sense of phrasing. In ...

Article

J. Bradford Robinson

(b Dairen, China, Dec 12, 1929). Japanese jazz composer, pianist and bandleader. She studied classical music and turned to jazz only in 1947 after moving to Japan. There she was discovered by Oscar Peterson, who urged her to take up a career in the USA. After studying at Berklee College of Music (1956–9) she became a highly regarded bop pianist, especially in groups with the alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano (who was at that time her husband). She worked in Japan (1961), joined Charles Mingus in the USA (1962–3), then returned to Japan until 1965. In 1973 she founded a large rehearsal band in Los Angeles with the tenor saxophonist and flautist Lew Tabackin, whom she had married in 1969. Its first album, Kogun (1974, RCA), was commercially successful in Japan, and the group attracted increasing popularity and critical acclaim until, by ...

Article

E. Ron Horton

(Anthony )

(b Hollywood, CA, Aug 30, 1957). American jazz and pop saxophonist. With Grover Washington jr and George Benson he was at the forefront of a movement in the 1970s that combined a jazz sensibility with more mass-market styles such as funk, rock, and rhythm and blues. Albright attended Locke High School where Patrice Rushen was a fellow student. At the University of Redlands, he read business management with a minor in music; during this time he refined his saxophone technique and learned to play bass guitar. He subsequently performed and recorded with Rushen, playing the well-known saxophone solo on her hit single “Forget me nots” (Rhino, 1982). Thereafter, his career flourished as he worked with a range of artists including Anita Baker, the Winans Family, Lola Folana, Whitney Houston, Phil Collins, and Quincy Jones. One of Bill Clinton’s favorite saxophonists, Albright performed at the president’s inauguration as well as at several of his private functions. As a leader, he has made nine albums and sold more than one million records in the United States; his recordings ...

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Richard Wigmore

( b Rome, Jan 25, 1960). Italian harpsichordist, organist and conductor . Largely self-taught, he conducted his first major concert, of Cavalli's Calisto, in Rome in 1985, with a group of singers that were to form the nucleus of a permanent ensemble, Concerto Italiano. The ensemble's first recording, of Monteverdi's fourth book of madrigals, was widely acclaimed for its passion and colour, winning a Gramophone award in 1994; subsequent recordings have included madrigals by Monteverdi, Marenzio and Frescobaldi, and vocal works by Lassus. In 1995 Alessandrini founded the complementary Concerto Italiano instrumental ensemble, with whom he has performed and recorded concertos by Bach and Vivaldi, and made an imaginative recording of Bach's Art of Fugue. His other recordings include Bach's sonatas for violin and harpsichord, vocal works by Vivaldi, Alessandro Scarlatti and Pergolesi, and Handel's Roman oratorio Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno. With Concerto Italiano he has appeared at major concert halls and festivals throughout Europe. In ...